Budget Porsche might seem like a bad joke. Well, it isn’t. At least for those who have fifteen grand spare and have a lust for a modern 911, the time to buy is now. The 996 era (’99-’05) isn’t liked by most Porsche enthusiasts because it represented a low point in styling and, for some, a step away from tradition. However, some of those critics are pretty stuck up.
Water-cooling wasn’t fondly regarded when it was introduced to the 911 range with the 996 generation. Additionally, the cars were accused of sounding bad and looking worse. However, if one can get over the broken-egg headlights, there are plenty of dynamic thrills that—thanks to the car’s unpopularity—are available for relative peanuts.
Fifteen grand will fetch a decent 996 Carrera 2 these days, and that gets you as much as 320 horsepower, as little as 2,900 pounds, incredible steering feel, and the ability to do a little bit of drifting —provided the driver has the hands to handle a rear-engined car beyond the limit. As you might imagine, the actual task of drifting a 996 is pretty interesting and that weight sitting over the rear axle has a tendency to over-rotate the car in the middle of a big angle drift. Yet, Guillaume Artufel’s able to transition between drifts like he’s driving a Nissan 240SX.
Artufel’s clearly spent his cash wisely with regards to his 996’s modifications. Subtle aero pieces, rock-hard suspension, formfitting GT3 seats, a 997 shift knob, and a few other tweaks to help it keep pointed the right way on the racetrack. It has some of the character of a GT3 for a third of the price. Considering the sort of high-speed maneuvers this car is can do, the sound it makes, and the bronze badge on the hood, it’s one of today’s best luxury-performance bargains—even if it’s the ugliest sibling in the 911’s regal family.
Doubt you’ll see many of these on your next drift day, but still an impressive car none the less.